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Architects, Designers Advance Sustainable Building Through Built Positive Workshops

The Built Positive Movement continued in Boston, Dallas, and Seattle this summer, as design pros convened for half-day workshops to gain a deeper understanding of circular design principles and how to put them to practical use today.

Nearly 300 attendees joined representatives from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, partners Google and BuildingGreen, and sponsors Shaw, Tarkett, Mecho Systems, Steelcase, thyssenkrupp, Construction Specialties, and Vitro.

The high-energy workshops identified new opportunities to add value to their projects by selecting safe ingredients with thoughtful design strategies so that the materials and products can be disassembled and recovered later for reuse, thereby fully realizing the potential of circular systems.

During the three-hour session, speakers introduced the core Built Positive principles and provided a look at those principles in action at Google and in other projects around the country. Perhaps most important, participants put the knowledge into practice, engaging in a series of charrettes to develop concepts for a hypothetical Google building that would eliminate the concept of waste, ensure responsible sourcing of materials, and improve the ability for deconstruction and reuse as it aged or the needs of occupants changed.

In Seattle, for example, teams created the “Google Lodge,” a high-rise structure to be crafted of heavy laminated timber with a wooden dowel fastening system. Keeping design for disassembly in mind, the building would feature Lego-like raised floor systems, flexible and demountable interior aluminum framing, demountable glass fronts, living furniture and bacteria-based paint, and virtual (digital finishes).

The vibe across each meeting was one of enthusiastic optimism, something manufacturers should take note of: Many designers are ready for the next steps, eager to incorporate products and design strategies that emphasize circular principles and tactics.

Indeed, when asked what they are most excited about when it comes to the built positive movement, one designer responded, “Building relationships with those that will make progress in the built environment.”

Click here to see photos from the events.

Ready to get involved? Join us this fall for pre-Greenbuild workshop, “Built Positive: Exploring Buildings as Material Banks,” Nov. 7. The all-day session will explore how designers can couple their growing expertise in selecting safe ingredients with thoughtful design strategies that consider the values and impacts of materials beyond their immediate use.   

If you have Cradle to Cradle Certified™ products, you’re already a part of this important movement. As designers continue to explore the boundaries of and dive deeper into real-world applications of circular design, manufacturers can and should play a key role. Contact us to get more involved.